Where Columbus was coming from.
Questions to Consider
1. The article is focused on Western Europe from 1450-1506. Foote wrote it because of diverse perspectives on Columbus and the conquest that he initiated. Was Columbus a product of a “golden age”? Was he a “boastful slave trader”? Answers to these sorts of questions reflect the complex nature, and interpretation, of Contact between the Old and New Worlds.
2. What political, military, and religious events were the most important stories in Spain in 1492?
3. How was Venice exceptional in what we now know as Italy?
4. What and where was the role of Islam during this time?
5. Note the less than refined manners of court.
6. Who fought? For whom? At whose expense?
7. Why were cities like fortresses?
8. Characterize the extreme violence and the peoples’ taste for entertainment.
9. How was religious devotion different than in our current society? How did was it manifested in the actions of artists, political leaders and religious leaders?
10. What was the “bonfire of the vanities”?
11. How did the printing press increase societal violence and church corruption?
12. Note how Copernicus discovery did not produce an immediate, revolutionary understanding of Earth and the heavens.
13. Note how knowledge often was often only accepted if it had been produced originally by the Greeks or Romans and revived: for example, Galen.
14. What were doctors’ “old standbys” to restore a person to health?
15. What was the state of sanitation practices?
16. Who was Ptolemy? What was his contribution to Western Europe’s understanding of the Earth?
17. Why did Braudel claim that “Europe needed to expand into the New World”?
18. Characterize the practice of slavery during Columbus life?
19. What do you think of the last 2 paragraphs on p. 40-41? They begin with the words, “Such a view may be forgiven…”